Aspiring-Author Interview #1: Priscilla Shay

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1. Tell us about yourself!
About myself…hmm… Well, I’m nineteen, turning twenty at the end of the month. Currently, I’m in my second year of college, but I’m a junior. When I graduate I’d love to pursue a M.F.A. (Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing), but I also want to attend Sign Language school so I can become a certified American Sign Language Interpreter. I’m a mass of contradictions. I write romances, although I’ve never had or experienced one. (I don’t think I would ever approach my characters if they were real people.)

I want to be an author, but I’m afraid of being an adult.
I’m afraid of commitment, but also abandonment.
I like candy, but prefer chocolate.
I have many books; I’ve started building books cases out of them.
I like origami, knitting, drawing, baking, English, History.

And finally, my current motto: “Everyone’s going to have their happy ending even if I have to kill them!”

2. What is your novel about? (It can be a completed story, or the new story you’re currently working on–whichever is your biggest project)
Let’s see. For Willful Wisdom, this is the working summary I had:

“William Somerset, Lord Rawley is a spy for the Crown and as always, his latest mission was a success. His new assignment, however, has him in knots. A fellow spy, Grey, went undercover, but is now missing. The Crown believes Grey is either dead or a traitor; Will has to go in, complete the mission, find the missing agent, and save the Prince Regent. On top of all that, his father’s cousin dies, making him the Duke, he meets this random girl and he can’t explain his attraction to her, making an ass of himself whenever he is around her.

The girl he meets is Lady Sophia. She is a strong, intelligent, independent woman who doesn’t need a man in her life telling her what to do or where to go. But, unfortunately for her, everywhere she goes Will seems to be. He irritates her to no end, yet they seem to have a connection. Sophia is also a spy working for her country. She needs to find information, send it to her spymaster so he can utilize the information to save lives

But what will happen when they discover each other’s secrets? Will the unexplained attraction for each prevail or will the love for their country??”

But, it’s currently undergoing major revisions and there are many, many changes.

I wrote another Regency romance, “Listening to Love” that’s posted on my fictionpress account. It’s not a major project since I wrote it because I wanted to give NaNoWriMo a try (I failed, but managed to escape with a new story in the end). I’m especially fond of the plot and characters and the lack of awareness during the 1800s is intriguing. I’ll probably go back and revise it, but for now it’s on the back burner. The summary is on my blog as well as the link if anyone is interested.

3. What inspired you to write this story?
Inspiration, inspiration. It came from a very odd place. There’s a kid’s show “Liberty’s Kids”. It’s about the American Revolution told through the eyes of three children who worked for Benjamin Franklin as journalists/apprentices (all fictional of course). There was an episode where Franklin received a blank missive in the middle of the night from a harried courier. Everyone was wondering what it could say, when there was nothing on the page save for a fancy “F” in the top left hand corner. Franklin explained that there were secret methods to decipher the letter and the “F” was a clue to use fire. Her held the paper over a lit candle stick and voila! the words appeared on the page.

Naturally, I wanted to do it too! But, alas, mother always told me not to play with fire – which is how I ended up creating a code. Once I had to code, however, I needed something to do with it and here we are two years, 100K+ later.

4. Where are you in your journey to publication?
Currently, I’m in the revision stage of my first project and I hope to finish and start querying agents by the end of the semester. But, I’m also penning the second and third MS of the series…along with any other idea that pops into my head. For example, I created a new group of characters for a YA series I wanted to work on and then I realized, WW is set in 1814 England, but my new group exists prior to 1814…making them older than my ragtag group of spies. Then, I had another brainwave and somehow managed to connect everybody and work my YA characters into the Adult series (although, I’m still trying to grasp what exactly YA is.)

5. Your top five favorite books?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Piccoult
Shabanu by Suzanne Fisher Staples
The Impostor by Celeste Bradley
Splendid by Suzanne Enoch
(For an ongoing list check “My Book List” on my blog)

*Side note: I’d love to write at least one novel in each time period, past to present, in my lifetime.

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